Equity at NFF
NFF will continue to support organizations led by and serving people of color as we listen, learn, and grow.
Click here for a list of organizations you can support in the fight for justice and equity.
Communities know their own needs and should be able to make decisions about their future. Yet many communities of color and organizations led by people of color don’t have this opportunity. They have faced decades of disinvestment because of deeply entrenched institutional barriers in how money flows.
As an organization whose primary business is to provide capital and financial advice, NFF is best able to address inequity by helping community-centered organizations gain control of financial resources.
We acknowledge that our access to financial and social capital, and the fact that we have been white-led for 40 years, gives us privilege that many organizations on the front lines fighting inequity do not have. We will use our position to advocate for change in the nonprofit sector to build a more equitable nonprofit financial system and actively support grassroots organizations in championing their own needs.
Our aim is for every aspect of our work to advance racial equity. This will require a variety of efforts, some already in place, to evaluate growth opportunities to ultimately guide us to a new way of working with our clients and within our organization.
In March of 2020, we formed our Social Innovation and Equity Council (SIEC). Led by Lacy Serros, the SIEC works to ensure that our past shortcomings are acknowledged and addressed, and NFF’s commitment to equity is operationalized in our internal and external work going forward. Read more about the SIEC here.
We have continuously refined and strengthened our commitment to racial equity. We engaged in organization-wide discussions to define what equity means to us and created an Equity Commitment, which asserts the centrality of racial equity in our work and organization: it articulates our beliefs and how those beliefs translate into actions that drive how we approach strategic decisions. Our beliefs are:
- Prosperity is defined as the condition of being successful or thriving. We believe all communities should have equitable opportunities to prosper. Yet intentional disinvestment and the inequitable flow of capital driven by systemic racism often deny communities of color the resources needed to build wealth and well-being.
- Nonprofits build economic opportunity, wealth, community power, and well-being through vital jobs, services, and organizing. They must have the resources necessary to do this.
- We work in service of community-led and community-centered nonprofits, which are best positioned to meet and exceed community aspirations.
- NFF is both a nonprofit and a community development financial institution. We have a responsibility to use our position as part of the privileged financial system to support organizations in accessing capital and other resources to build wealth and well-being in the communities they serve – and to challenge the systemic racism that denies those opportunities.
- We help organizations navigate the racism in the financial system, while also working to make that system more equitable. And, we value and at times support the efforts of those that work to create new pathways and alternatives to how money flows.
We do this by:
- Countering the inequitable flow of capital by providing access to capital and resources needed to build community wealth and well-being—especially in communities of color.
- Investing in the capacity of nonprofits to deliver community-led and -responsive solutions
- Amplifying the voices of nonprofit leaders of color and joining forces with clients and partners to advocate for more equitable, less racist funding practices
- Prioritizing trust-building and relationships by first listening deeply and then working in support of community plans
- Using the feedback that we get from our nonprofit clients to continuously evolve our services
- Striving to make more of our services accessible to more nonprofits
- Hiring leadership and staff with lived experience in the communities and organizations we support
- Continuously incorporating and improving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) principles in our internal operations, policies, and practices, and committing to create a culture of care.
Our Latest Work
We are proud that our work is mission-driven and guided by our values. While not all of it is specifically equity-focused, here are examples of ways we are advancing racial equity that represent our growing commitment to this value.
Catalyzing Finance for Racial Equity (CFRE) is a project dedicated to showing how Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) can support economic justice and promote racial equity through investments.
NFF has focused on equity in response to the pandemic by: Giving unrestricted grants to 22 organizations led by people of color, made possible with a $250,000 grant from Fidelity Charitable Trustees
Community Connections for Youth (CCFY) is a Bronx-based organization that seeks to reform the juvenile justice system with alternatives to incarceration.
The Theater Offensive (TTO) is a theater company in Boston presenting liberating art by, for, and about queer and trans people of color.
We host regular EIA forums for staff to learn from guest speakers, discuss how we are addressing EIA in our client work, and our internal policies.
Our staff, clients, and partners contribute stories, blogs, podcasts, and videos about how to increase equity in social sector funding.
Organizations we encourage you support in the fight for justice and equity:
- Anti Police-Terror Project
- Black Lives Matter
- Black Movement-Law Project
- Black Voters Matter
- Bread & Roses
- The Brotherhood/Sister Sol
- Campaign Zero
- Color of Change
- Common Future
- Crossroads Fund
- Community Street Team (NCST)
- Dream Corps: #cut50
- Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
- Equal Justice Initiative
- Equity and Transformation (E.A.T.)
- Fund for Black Journalism
- H.E.L.P.E.R Foundation
- Highlander Research and Education Center
- Justice LA
- Just Leadership USA
- LIFE Camp, Inc
- Life Comes From It
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- The Movement for Black Lives
- National Black Food & Justice Alliance
- National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform
- National Police Accountability Project
- New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
- People's Advocacy Institute
- The Professional Community Intervention Training Institute (PCITI)
- Progression Partners
- Showing Up for Racial Justice
- Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL)
- Spirit House
- Texas Organizing Project (TOP)
- Vera Institute of Justice
- W. Haywood Burns Institute for Justice, Fairness & Equity
We will continue to update this page with our latest efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Last updated: November 6, 2023